The Saucy Dressings’ chief taster told me he was tired of potatoes. “Tiny new potatoes just out of the ground and cooked by a friend are fine” he assured me, “as are our son’s crispy roast potatoes, served with a Sunday roast; and I like your jacket potatoes….. but endless plain, boiled, tasteless potatoes…..” He’d made his point.

So potatoes were off the menu and I began to overcompensate with the obvious alternatives – rice and pasta. A surfeit of those and they’d be off the menu too.

The answer was a cobbler.

 

What, exactly, is a cobbler?

A cobbler can be sweet (fruit) or savoury (meat). The fruit or meat is poured into a casserole or baking dish, and covered with a mixture which is sort of half dumpling and half scone. The concept of this dish was cooked up (oh dear!) by English settlers in America who weren’t able to make suet because they lacked both ingredients and equipment. The cobbler is the nearest they could get. According to Wikipedia types of cobblers are also known in some parts of north America as ‘grunts’ (in Canada, where apparently they make a grunting sound when cooked), ‘dough boys’, and ‘sonkers’. Wonderful!

This cobbler is a bit of a mix of the fruity and meaty, but it’s definitely savoury and hearty.

Serve with peas (see how to cook frozen peas – don’t use boiling water) or a green salad with fresh coriander snipped over it and a dressing made from 1 tbsp pomegranate molasses, 3 tbsps olive oil, 1 tsp Dijon mustard, and salt and pepper.

If you wanted to you could add butternut squash to the mix.

If you want the cobblers to look particularly impressive you could varnish with beaten egg before cooking.

 

What to do with the leftovers

  • add the filling to a tomato sauce for pasta
  • crumble the remaining cobblers into a green salad – reheat them first, use them warm

 

Recipe for fruity chorizo cobbler

 

Serves four

 

  • 250g/9 oz chorizo – ideally Three Little Pigs
  • 1 red onion
  • 4 sundried tomatoes, chopped
  • 75g/2 oz soft, dried apricots
  • 75g/2 oz soft dried prunes
  • 50g/⅓ cup whole skinned almonds
  • 2 aubergines
  • 1 tbsp pomegranate molasses
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 180ml/¾ cup chicken stock made with 1 heaped tsp chicken stock powder or one chicken stock cube
  • 120ml/½ cup red vermouth
  • Coriander or parsley to garnish
  • Olive oil to fry
  • Indonesian long pepper
  • 150g/5 oz/1¼ cups self-raising flour (or plain flour, plus 2 tsp baking powder)
  • 1 tbsp thyme (or whatever herbs you have to hand)
  • 4 tbsp yoghurt
  • Smoked salt

 

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C
  2. Warm a little olive oil in a large saucepan and add the chorizo, roughly chopped.
  3. Peel and chop the onion and add to the chorizo
  4. Very roughly chop the apricots and prunes and add them too
  5. Add the almonds
  6. Cut the aubergines into small cubes and add. Continue to cook for about ten minutes. If it looks a bit dry add a bit more oil
  7. Dry fry the seeds, grind in a pestle and mortar and add to the saucepan
  8. Add the stock, the vermouth and the pepper and put in the oven, covered (until you add the cobblers), for 45 minutes to an hour.
  9. Meanwhile, mix the flour, thyme, yoghurt and some smoked salt and a few grinds of Indonesian long pepper
  10. Roll out on a floured board and cut into rings. About twenty five minutes into the cooking of the meat, take it out, give it a good stir, and top it with the cobblers.
  11. The cobblers should be cooked through and golden – you may need to raise the heat to 210°C for five minutes or so just before the end to achieve this.

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